Academic Workshops

One of the Kinder Institute’s primary goals is to create a vibrant intellectual community on the MU campus dedicated to producing and discussing innovative scholarship on the complicated history of constitutional democracy in the U.S. and abroad. To advance this goal, we have created a number of opportunities, in addition to our regular series of colloquia, for scholars on campus, in the region, and around the globe to share current research with one another.

Shawnee Trail Regional Conference on American Politics & Constitutionalism

In the early nineteenth century, the Shawnee Trail conveyed cattle from Texas pasturelands to Missouri railheads and thence to the nation. Over the past six years, the Shawnee Trail Conference has provided a similar venue for the transmission of ideas among and between scholars of American political and constitutional development and history, and American political thought.

The 2021 Shawnee Trail Conference will take the form of a manuscript workshop, co-sponsored by the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy and the journal American Political Thought. Manuscript proposals are currently being accepted, with a deadline of January 31, and we are open to proposals from scholars at all ranks in departments of political science, history, philosophy, and related disciplines and we welcome papers on all aspects of politics and American constitutionalism, broadly defined to encompass political and constitutional development, political thought, and public law. The workshop itself will be held virtually on April 10, 2021.

The call-for-papers deadline has passed, but general queries can be sent to any of the contacts below.


Dr. Connor Ewing,, Kinder Institute Assistant Professor of Constitutional Democracy, University of Missouri

Dr. Susan McWilliams Barndt,, Professor and Chair of Politics, Pomona College

Dr. Jeremy Bailey,, Professor of Political Science, University of Houston

Missouri Regional Seminar on Early American History

Convening quarterly, and rotating between Columbia and St. Louis, the Missouri Regional Seminar on Early American History (MRSEAH) provides scholars of pre-Civil War U.S. political history with an opportunity to share current projects with colleagues in a serious, but convivial setting.

The MRSEAH is organized in a workshop format, with presenters pre-circulating an article- or book chapter-in-progress to participants and an interlocutor commenting on and leading discussion of the manuscript at the gathering proper. Parties interested in participating in the MRSEAH should contact Prof. Jeff Pasley, Kinder Institute Associate Director and MRSEAH co-convener, at

Recent meetings of the seminar have featured discussions of Princeton Assistant Professor of History Michael Blaakman’s paper “The Marketplace of American Federalism: Land Speculation Across State Lines in the Early Republic”; Kinder Institute and MU History Assistant Professor Al Zuercher Reichardt’s work on “Pennsylvania Settlement Schemes, the Walking Purchase, and Visions of British Political Economy”; and “The Other 1828,” a chapter draft from Duke University Associate Professor Reeve Huston’s forthcoming book, Democratic Discontent: Remaking American Politics, 1815-1840.

Other past MRSEAH presenters have included Professors David Waldstreicher (CUNY-Graduate Center), Alan Taylor (University of Virginia), François Furstenberg (Johns Hopkins), Gareth Davies (Oxford, St. Anne’s College), and Jay Sexton (Kinder Institute).


International Scholarly Conferences

In addition to the regularly-scheduled events above, the Kinder Institute likewise hosts international scholarly conferences whenever the opportunity arises.

In May 2018, over four dozen scholars of transnational history gathered in Columbia to workshop all chapters of the second, 19th-century volume of Cambridge University Press’ ambitious, five-volume Cambridge History of America and the World, which is co-edited by Kinder Institute Endowed Chair in Constitutional Democracy Jay Sexton and his longtime collaborator, University of Illinois’ Professor of History Kristin Hoganson. A schedule of speakers and chapters can be found here.

In February 2019, a like number of scholars, from as close as Tate Hall and as far away as Gothenburg, descended on the MU campus for the first ever international conference devoted to examining the crisis over Missouri statehood (on the dawn of the state’s bicentennial). The best papers delivered at the conference will be published as a collected volume of essays as part of the Institute’s Studies in Constitutional Democracy book series with University of Missouri Press. A brochure of all presented papers can be found here.

The next such global gathering in Columbia will be the April 2021 annual meeting of the British American Nineteenth Century Historians.